A little history in the making

Published 7:00 pm Sunday, February 20, 2011

Inside all of us, I think, is a small bit of desire to make alittle history or leave behind a legacy.

I’m as guilty as the next person. I want to be able to say I’veleft my mark somewhere. I guess it’s just like when I was a childand penciled my name on a wall – “Tammie was here.”

Before joining and becoming a charter member of the LincolnCounty Historical and Genealogical Society a few years ago, Ididn’t realize just how much history plays a part of one’s life andcommunity, or at least I hadn’t given it that much thought.

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Of course, like many others, I’ve read and studied history booksin school. Heard tales and retold stories of this person and that -people who helped shape our nation and state.

But where can you read the story of a community? It’s all inyour hometown newspaper.

Every day the newspaper prints the good and bad of a community,as well as its accomplishments and failures with as much accuracyand fact-checking as possible.

And that written word is documented in print for futuregenerations to come.

I’ve worked in newspaper publishing since 1981 and it wasn’tuntil just a few years ago that it dawned on me the significance ofwhat we do every day and its importance.

Every day someone is born, someone dies, someone weds, someonegets arrested, and every day someone cuts those small pieces ofnewsprint out and preserves them for their families.

They place them in scrapbooks, photo albums or family Bibles.They become part of someone’s history, whether we know that personor not. It’s their mark that they’ve left behind.

My grandmother has several dozen photo albums filled with oldfamily photos. Mixed among those images are small scraps ofnewspaper clippings documenting deaths, births, engagements, honorrolls and recitals. It’s a little insight to our familyhistory.

My nephew Josh is beginning to show a real interest in ourfamily history and almost weekly has questions for my grandparents.It’s the telling of our history from grandparent togreat-grandson.

In the last year, the historical society has been preparing andrenovating the old Jewish temple and transforming it into a historymuseum. For the past several months, members have been meetingevery week, sometimes more frequently, getting items arranged andplaced into display cases.

It’s really something to see and I can’t wait until we can shareit with the community. It’s going to be educational for our newgenerations as well as our older generations and a way to preservethe history of Lincoln County.

Now when I go through my “less is more” phases, I stop and thinkabout what I’m throwing out or giving away. Is it significant? Doesit tell a story? I’m afraid my “to-keep” chest is getting quitefull of just those types of items. Things I want my children andgrandchildren to cherish one day.

You’d be surprised at all the things we throw away that in 25years will actually be something special. Just like that smallpiece of newsprint that has a story about someone’s birth or death,it’s important.

I’m going to encourage all of you to look through your familyphotographs and name the people, places or events that took place.Nothing has been more frustrating to me than to look at someone’sold family photos and not know who they are or why they are posingfor a photo.

The Society is still looking for new members, and also for itemsto go into the museum. We’ve had lots of people donate items, butwe’re always in need of more.

One of the things the Society would love to see is more writtenhistories of families, churches, businesses and even old buildings.These items will become invaluable in years to come and we’ll housethem all at the museum for all to see and read.

If you have items significant to Lincoln County that you’d liketo donate or if you have a written history you want to share,please contact the Society or me at tambrew@gmail.com.

We’re aiming to open the museum to the public in March. Look forour grand opening and ribbon cutting!

And with that all I can say is – “Tammie was here.”

And how was your week?

Graphics and Systems Director Tammie Brewer can be reached atThe DAILY LEADER at (601) 833-6961 ext. 144, by e-mail attbrewer@dailyleader.com or you can write to her at P.O. Box 551,Brookhaven MS 39602.